Why the Plexus Pink Drink May Not Be Safe

plexus pink drink review
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"Plexus Slim Hunger Control," colloquially known as the "pink drink," is the name of a supplement that's marketed as an appetite suppressant for weight control. The drink comes in powdered form and is mixed with water, then consumed before two daily meals to help you reduce the desire to overeat.

But like many fad diet supplements that have come before it, Plexus pink drink is another quick fix that doesn't work in the long term to help with weight control. That's because it does not teach people how to build a sustainable, healthy lifestyle that includes a balanced diet and physical activity. What's also worrisome is that the product, like many dietary supplements, has not been clinically tested for efficacy, and has not been third-party tested to show that all of the ingredients are safe.

What Is Plexus Pink Drink?

Plexus is a multi-level marketing company that sells supplements marketed to promote weight loss, gut health, skin care, and more. The pink drink refers to a supplement that is a sweet, citrus-flavored powder that's added to water and consumed before meals.

There are many products under the Plexus label. One popular product is Plexus Slim Hunger Control, which contains polydextrose, green coffee bean extract and chromium polynicotinate. The company's marketing says this product helps reduce hunger, promote weight loss, enhance satiety, and support healthy glucose metabolism. These statements have not been supported by clinical trials using the product, so there is no evidence that these claims are true.

Historically, Plexus was called out by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for making health claims that were unsubstantiated. They have since changed their labels, but continue to make claims that are not backed by science.

The product is sold in the multi-level marketing model and is available online, in some stores, and through Plexus brand ambassadors who earn commissions through sales. The brand ambassadors are not regulated health professionals.

The Plexus website alludes to clinical studies that support the efficacy of the products, but there are no cited references, and no links to any published studies. In the absence of studies on Plexus products, the next best alternative is to examine published research on the ingredients in these products to determine safety and effectiveness.

Always check with a health care provider before trying any supplement. Some medications can interact with supplements, so it's important to make safe choices based on your personal health and medical conditions.

How Do the Plexus Weight Management Regimens Work?

The pink drink is sold as a stand-alone product, but is also marketed in combination with other Plexus products. The 'upsell' is a great way for brand ambassadors to make more money. Some of the products that are sold in conjunction with the Plexus Slim Hunger Control pink drink include:

  • Plexus Slim Microbiome Activating: a drink powder that contains prebiotic fiber
  • Plexus Meta Burn: A supposed "fat burner"
  • Plexus Lean: a high-protein meal replacement shake for weight loss

It's unknown if there's a specific combination of products that work best together because it has not been clinically tested. Buying a combination pack of these products costs about $225 per month.

The Plexus pink drink powder alone costs about $100 per month. The packaging instructions suggest dissolving one sachet in 12-20 ounces of water and taking it twice daily before meals.

What Are The Active Ingredients?

Plexus Slim Hunger Control

  • Calories: 20
  • Total Carbohydrate: 8g
  • Fiber: 6g


Active ingredients:

Chromium: 200mcg

Polydextrose: 6250mg

Plexus Slim Blend: 531mg (this is made up of green coffee bean extract, garcinia cambogia, alpha lipoic acid, and white mulberry fruit extract.


Other ingredients: Natural flavors, citric acid, stevia, fruit and vegetable juice extract (for color), and silicon dioxide.

Polydextrose

The primary ingredient in Plexus Slim Hunger Control is a soluble fiber called polydextrose. One sachet contains six grams of fiber, or about 8% of your daily recommended intake.

Like any fiber, polydextrose can help you to feel full. Studies do support the idea that polydextrose supplements decrease the desire to eat and may help you to eat less at meals. However, the fullness is fleeting and doesn't reduce calorie intake by much. Another study showed that the actual caloric decrease is only about 50 calories at a meal when 12.5 grams of polydextrose are consumed prior to the meal.

Chromium Polynicotinate

Chromium polynicotinate is a supplement made of chromium combined with niacin. It's touted as a way to balance blood sugar levels and aid weight loss. The study cited as evidence on the Plexus website concludes that chromium provided no significant effect on lipid (fat) or glucose (sugar) metabolism in people without diabetes.

A meta-analysis of chromium supplementation for weight loss looked at 21 clinical trials and found that chromium was associated with some improvements in body composition in subjects with diagnosed obesity/overweight. The researchers concluded by saying that the clinical relevance of chromium as a weight loss aid remains uncertain and more studies are needed.

Green Coffee Bean Extract 

This extract is derived from the unroasted seeds of the coffee plant which contain chlorogenic acid, a noted anti-inflammatory.

Limited rodent and small human studies have shown that the extract may have a modest effect on weight loss, but studies have also been widely criticized by medical experts and the Federal Trade Commission for poor study design.

Garcinia Cambogia

Garcinia cambogia is a diet supplement made from the rind of the garcinia Cambogia fruit (Malabar tamarind), which is native to India and Southeast Asia.

The rind contains hydroxycitric acid (HCA) which is purported to aid in appetite suppression and weight loss. The NIH states that there is no convincing evidence to support the fact that garcinia cambogia has any effect on weight loss.

Alpha Lipoic Acid (ALA)

ALA is an antioxidant. A large meta-analysis concluded that ALA supplementation had no effect on waist circumference and only a very slight effect on weight. Researchers concluded that ALA supplementation is not a cost-effective therapy for obesity management.

White Mulberry Fruit Extract

This extract is an ingredient with a history of use in Chinese medicine. It is purported to provide a wide range of health benefits, but researchers have reported that strong clinical evidence in humans is lacking.

Safety of Each Ingredient

There is no research or third-party testing on Plexus products, so it is unclear whether they are safe or effective.

One published case study reported adverse effects that were traced back to Plexus products. The researchers reported a case of primary immune thrombocytopenic purpura (ITP), which is a bleeding disorder. They tied it to a Plexus supplement that contains two potential thrombocytopenia-causing compounds, garcinia cambogia, and chromium polynicotinate.

In the absence of an overall safety study for Plexus supplements, here is the safety profile for each individual ingredient:

  • Polydextrose: Studies investigating the possible side effects of polydextrose are limited. One study funded by a polydextrose maker DuPont indicated that 4–12 grams can be used without adverse side effects such as abdominal pain, bloating, or diarrhea. However, polydextrose is likely a FODMAP, so it may not be tolerated by people with irritable bowel syndrome.
  • Chromium: The NIH reports that there are no safety concerns for recommended doses ranging from 20–45 mcg/day for adults. At higher doses, reported adverse side effects include headache, diarrhea, constipation, vertigo, nausea, vomiting, and hives. Chromium may also interact with certain medications including antacids, corticosteroids, insulin, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, and others.
  • Green Coffee Bean Extract: Amounts used in studies (up to 200mg/day) have been mostly well-tolerated. Possible side effects may include headaches and urinary tract infections.
  • Garcinia Cambogia: Reported adverse events include headache, nausea, and upper GI symptoms. There has been at least one report of serious liver damage attributed to garcinia cambogia supplementation.
  • Alpha Lipoic Acid: ALA supplementation is generally well-tolerated with no serious side effects.
  • White Mulberry Fruit Extract: There is not enough information to know if supplementation could provide adverse effects.

Diet and Lifestyle Alternatives

Learning to implement a lifestyle that includes a balanced eating plan, physical activity, stress reduction, and plenty of sleep is a healthier approach than using unproven, expensive, and untested supplements that may do more harm than good.

Here are some ways to promote weight management in a realistic way:

  • Use the Dietary Guidelines to inform a nutritious, balanced diet with a variety of foods based on your preferences
  • Aim for at least 150 minutes of physical activity per week, as outlined by the Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans
  • Reduce stress levels through meditation, exercise, or any positive stress-relief habit that works for you
  • Get enough sleep (at least 7 or more hours per night)

Speak with a health care provider to find the best approach to a lifestyle that specifically fits your personal needs. A registered dietitian may be able to provide a customized, sustainable diet to help you achieve your dietary goals.

A Word From Verywell

If you are trying to lose weight, it can be tempting to purchase hyped products with incredible claims for efficacy. But, buyer beware. If it sounds too good to be true, it usually is. Remember that supplements can have side effects and may interact poorly with existing medical conditions or medications.

A balanced diet and active lifestyle is a more achievable and sustainable goal compared to 'weight loss.' Work with a health care provider or dietitian instead of investing in multi-level marketing products that have no clinical proof of effectiveness.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • What are the ingredients in Plexus Pink Drink?

    The active ingredients are chromium, polydextrose, green coffee bean extract, garcinia cambogia, alpha lipoic acid, and white mulberry fruit extract. The other ingredients include are natural flavors, citric acid, stevia, fruit and vegetable juice extract (for color), and silicon dioxide.

  • Does Plexus Pink Drink cause weight loss?

    It may, if used in conjunction with an overall diet and exercise plan, however, this is likely not a long-term, sustainable, weight management solution. Additionally, the potential risks generally outweigh any conceivable benefits.

  • What is an alternative to Plexus Pink Drink?

    A healthy lifestyle that includes a balanced eating plan, physical activity, stress reduction, and plenty of sleep is a better choice than a fad diet or unproven supplements. Check out the Dietary Guidelines and aim for at least 150 minutes of physical activity per week.

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17 Sources
Verywell Fit uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
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